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# Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Ohio Town's House History and Genealogy Meet on Free Site
Posted by Diane

What started as a survey of house histories has turned into a website with genealogy information for an entire community.

In 1995, the women’s club in Terrace Park, Ohio—a village of 2,267 residents and 1.25 square miles—asked every resident to fill out a survey about the history of local buildings.

Leland Cole designed an online home for the data: the Terrace Park, Ohio, Building Survey website. Now Cole and his wife, Carol, add to the site with help from the women’s club.

In all, the free site describes about 925 buildings. You can find all kinds information, including when a house or other structure was built, what it’s made of, its uses, changes made, owners’ names and ownership dates, notes about resident families from maps and phone and city directories, and more.

Most listings have links to photos of the property, a deed index and owners’ census transcriptions from 1810 to 1930.

The page for 203 Marietta St., for example, tells you the original owners, the West family, occupied the house from 1890 to 1951. Samuel Adams West was an attorney; his family was related to Oliver Robertson of 602 Miami Ave. The page gives birth and death dates for many occupants, transcribes their census records, and has photos showing how the house has changed over the years.

You can use the Terrace Park building survey site in several ways:
  • Click Search to search for a person’s name or other words in building descriptions. You’ll get a list of results for related buildings; click one to see information for that building.
  • Click Street Index to browse to a street name, then click the house number you’re looking for.
  • Use the links on the left side of the home page to browse the site’s deed records, census records and burial information.
  • Click Related Information to read background material on the community and local organizations.
Researching your ancestors’ neighbors and associates is one way to get around genealogical brick walls, and it gives you a really good picture of how your ancestor lived. Cole's site—the only one of its kind I've found —provides rich detail for people with Terrace Park ancestors.

To find historical and genealogical information from your ancestral hometown, try clicking around the county's USGenWeb site, visiting the local historical or genealogical association site, and running a Google search on the county or town name and genealogy


Cemeteries | census records | Free Databases | Land records | Vital Records
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 3:44:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, December 15, 2009
GNELOG License Plates
Posted by Diane

We were out and about yesterday when we spotted this license plate.



Maybe the driver didn’t mean for the plate to be genealogical, but that’s how we’re taking it: Galicia is the name for both a community in northwestern Spain with roots going back to the Kingdom of Galicia, and a historical region of east-Central Europe now in Poland and Ukraine.

That got us thinking about other genealogy license plates you could make with the seven-character alphanumeric combo Ohio allows. We came up with GEDCOM, 3RD GR8 (or 4TH GRT, 5TH GR8 and so on), FMLY TRE and IMA MUTT.

Today I discovered others have already played this game—Mark Tucker’s Think Genealogy blog has plenty of good ideas for the next time you renew your plates.

If you're having trouble condensing your love for genealogy into letters and numbers that'll fit on a plate, type a word or phrase into the Vanity License Plate Generator and it'll help you shorten your thought.

Genealogy fun
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 11:23:15 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, December 14, 2009
Tips for Taking Holiday Photos
Posted by Diane

The holidays may be the biggest workout your camera gets all year. And this might be the only time you get a chance to take pictures of far-flung friends and family. Use these tips for taking great snapshots:
  • Get familiar with your camera’s settings ahead of time so you’re not fiddling with buttons as the Kodak moments happen around you
  • It’s easy to forget your camera when you also have to remember all the presents and the green bean casserole, so get it ready to go. Charge the batteries, find the extra ones and make sure there’s room on the memory card.
  • Take a lot of pictures, trying the same scene zoomed in and out, and with and without flash. The beauty of digital photography is that you can look at the pictures later, decide what to keep and get rid of the bad shots.
  • Get close to your subject to avoid background distractions.
  • If you’re taking pictures of holiday lights at night, the flash can overwhelm them and harshly illuminate people in the foreground. Try switching to your camera’s nighttime setting—but you’ll also need to use a tripod or steady the camera against a fence rail or table to avoid a blurry shot. This article has more tips on tricky nightime lighting situations.
  • Some digital cameras have a delay after you press the shutter, so you may need to anticipate a shot and click the shutter a split second early.
  • Learn your camera’s timer feature so you can take a photo of the whole gang together. Position people at different levels (some sitting, some standing) and take plenty of shots to increase the chances of everyone’s eyes being open at the same time. This article has more tips on group portraits.
More resources from FamilyTreeMagazine.com for preserving memories through photographs:
  • Family Photo Essentials CD with tips on taking photos, preserving them in albums, safely organizing them and researching old pictures (on sale at ShopFamilyTree.com)


Genealogy fun | Photos
Monday, December 14, 2009 10:21:04 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, December 11, 2009
Genealogy News Corral December 7-11
Posted by Allison

Diane took a well-deserved day off today—but not before completing this week's roundup of news. I'm posting it here in her absence:

The Missouri Historical Society recently updated its searchable Genealogy and Local History Index with information from St. Louis-area graduation programs, the Anheuser-Busch employee magazine, a St. Louis County justice of the peace marriage register and more.
 
The National Archives and Records Administration  is holding a meeting to discuss proposed changes to research facilities at the Washington, DC, location. The meeting is 1 pm, Dec. 17, in the archives’ in the Robert Warner Research Center. If you can’t be there but want input, see the information on the NGS UpFront blog.

World Vital records has added more than a dozen genealogy databases from UK-based Anguline Research Archives, including registers from the Sherborne School (Dorset, England), parish registers of Norton-in-the-Moors in Staffordshire and Burford in Shropshire, the 1898 book Old English Social Life and more. See the full list in the latest Family History Bulletin.

The Priceless Legacy Co., which creates commemorative personal biographies in print and audio format, has signed on as the personal history provider for Ancestry.com's Expert Connect service.

Have an enjoyable weekend!

 


Ancestry.com | Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Friday, December 11, 2009 5:04:53 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, December 10, 2009
Ancestry.com Upgrades Census Collection
Posted by Diane

If you’ve been unable to find your ancestors in US census records on subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com, it may be time to try again. The site just released enhanced images and/or indexes for six more census.

Added to upgrades implemented a few months ago, that means improved images for the 1790 through 1900 censuses, and better indexes for the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1900 censuses. In all, that's 200 million improved census records.

Ancestry.com’s new indexes and images are a result of a resource-exchanging partnership with FamilySearch announced in 2008. FamilySearch provided Ancestry.com with its census images; Ancestry.com gave its index to FamilySearch volunteer indexers to use as a “first draft.”

Digital enhancements and higher-resolution images have given the records a cleaner look. In some cases, you can read names that were previously illegible because they were too light, dark, blurry or faded, or were obscured by something such as tape.

Here’s a before (left) and after (right) from the 1860 census; see more examples on Ancestry.com.



Improvements to the 1910, 1920 and 1930 census collections are the works.

Ancestry.com | census records
Thursday, December 10, 2009 1:18:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Hanukkah History
Posted by Diane

The eight days of Hanukkah begin this Friday at sundown, when Jews light the first candle on a special nine-branch menorah.

The holiday commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees defeated the Seleucid Empire in the second century BC. There was enough oil to burn for only one day, but the light miraculously burned for eight days.

Use these links to learn more about Hanukkah history and traditions:
If you’re researching Jewish ancestors, make sure you check out the free JewishGen collection on Ancestry.com and Footnote's Holocaust records collection (free through the end of December).

Here are some how-to helps from FamilyTreeMagazine.com:


Genealogy Web Sites | Jewish roots
Thursday, December 10, 2009 9:03:57 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Editors' Picks: Family Tree Magazine Desk Calendar
Posted by Diane



There are so many things I love about our first-ever desk calendar. Foremost are the beautiful photos—all from Family Tree Magazine readers—and the stories behind them. 
           
There’s also the genealogy tip of the month, and a ShopFamilyTree.com coupon on the back of each month. And the nice size (it fits into a CD case) that’s just right to tuck into a stocking (it also won’t take up too much real estate on your desk).

Click here to learn more and get one of your own.

Editor's Pick
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 2:29:49 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
Genealogy Archives Update
Posted by Diane

New subscription genealogy site Genealogy Archives ($39.95 per year), which launched in July has made some updates and additions to the site, including:
  • Member Profiles, where you can manage your account, view search history, save records and more
  • Ancestor Alerts, which you set up via your profile—enter basic information on a person you’re searching for, and get an e-mail alert when the site finds potential matches in its databases
  • a Search Guide to help members search the site and learn about its records
  • new collections including 200,000 US census records and 100,000 census record images (note that except for the 1860 and 1930 census indexes, which come from Footnote, this isn’t a complete collection—for example, the 1900 census record count is 6,519)
More than 200,000 Canadian immigration, passenger and vital records are coming soon
  • an FAQ for membership questions and to contact site support
  • made the records search in the members-only area more sophisticated, with more fields and the option to choose date ranges
The Genealogy Archives blog will help you keep up on changes to the site.

Genealogy Archives doesn’t have a free basic membership, which can make it a little hard for you to test the waters. Nonmembers can use the links to genealogy resources at the bottom of the home page, read the Expert Series of how-to articles and view information about the site’s collections. Note that most are indexes, rather than document images, and many databases are available free on other sites.

You can sign up for a free seven-day trial to access the members-only area, search the records and use the community forums (you’ll need to enter your credit card number). If you decide not to join, remember to cancel before the trial period is up to avoid being charged.


Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 12:28:21 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Photo Retouching Befores and Afters
Posted by Diane

I just watched Allison and Christy rehearse tomorrow’s Family Tree University webinar on how to retouch family photos, and I wanted to share some screen shots showing a few of the impressive photo fixes you’ll learn:

Fixing tears and creases (this is reader Susan Freier's photo, featured in our 2010 desk calendar).
 


Adjusting color (which also makes this document easier to read)


This is my favorite photo makeover. After adjusting the color and removing the brown splotches, this print


looks like this


Christy retouched these photos using the free Picasa software, not an expensive photo-editing program. Pictures with lots of scratches, dust specks and other marks take some time to correct, but you can do it at home at not too much expense.

Important things to remember when you digitally retouch a photo: Start with a good, high-resolution scan of the picture; save an unedited original; and regularly save retouched versions as you work, in case you make a mistake.

You can read more about the webinar Photo Retouching: How to Bring Old Family Photos Back to Life in my earlier blog post.

You can register at ShopFamilyTree.com.


Photos | Webinars
Tuesday, December 08, 2009 3:31:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, December 07, 2009
Footnote's WWII Records Free Through December
Posted by Diane

In honor of Pearl Harbor Day today, subscription site Footnote is making its WWII records collection—with more than 10 million records, documents and photos from the National Archives—free to the public for the rest of December. Included are
  • Missing Air Crew Reports, more than 16,605 case files and related records of the US Army Air Forces
  • Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls listing all personnel assigned to ships based at Pearl Harbor between 1939 and 1947
  • Army and Navy Judge Advocate General case files.
  • Submarine Patrol Reports, 1941 to 1945,
  • Naval press clippings collected from 1942 to 1960 by the Public Information Department of the 13th Naval District, headquartered in Seattle
  • Holocaust records (Footnote had already made this collection free through the end of the year)
Access the records from Footnote's WWII landing page.

Helpful resources from FamilyTreeMagazine.com:
Addition: If you’re looking for a WWII veteran's military service records, the National Archives and Records Administration restricts access to these for privacy reasons. Veterans and next-of kin (surviving widows/widowers who haven’t remarried, children, siblings and parents) can request them from NARA’s National Personnel Records Center through the eVetRecs online system or by mail or fax.

If you’re not next of kin, you may be able to get limited information from WWII service records. See NARA’s website for information.


Footnote | Jewish roots | Military records
Monday, December 07, 2009 9:21:14 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]